JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — A federal jury on Thursday convicted Jesse Mae Brown Pollard of kidnapping a 6-year-old relative to pressure the girl’s mother in a dispute over a piece of land and a portable storage shed in east Mississippi.
Pollard, a former teacher and basketball coach, was found guilty of conspiracy, kidnapping and obstruction.
The child was taken from East Kemper Elementary School in the Kemper County community of Scooba on April 30 and dropped off unharmed in the rain near a stranger’s mobile home the next day.
By that time, prosecutors say the FBI was closing in on those they suspected in the case.
Prosecutors argued in U.S. District Court in Jackson that Pollard planned the abduction and wanted to use the girl “as leverage” to get her property back.
Defense attorney asked the jury to recall testimony about Pollard’s bizarre behavior and ask themselves if she knew what she was doing at the time of the abduction.
Pollard’s son, former University of Alabama basketball player Devonta Pollard, was among those who testified against her. He said he heard his mother talking to herself about the land and the girl in the days before the abduction, and she didn’t seem like herself.